AAC 101

Steps of Learning Process...

5 steps to move from training to talking, give you a clear path for you and your student learner. Learning to communicate is a shared journey between the learner and their partners, and that makes sense! Communication is a shared activity between two people. It is the means for us to make connections, meet our needs, engage socially, participate in shared experiences, and bridge the gap between our experiences and sharing these their partners.

Student Classroom Communication Goals Grid-R

Your very first step to get started with your student is to complete the Student Communication Goals Grid-R. This will help you identify your student's communication present level of performance and define goals for the following steps. Next you are on your way through the 5 Steps of your AAC 101 Journey!

The Student-Classroom Communication Goals Grid is a research informed assessment to help you develop your IEPs, giving you a present level of performance, extensive bank of communication and AAC goals, and the ability to show progress over multiple administrations from year to year!

QUIZ & 1.5 hrs. CREDIT are available once you have completed the following:

  1. Watch the video
  2. Discuss the Goals Grid with your team or staff
  3. Complete the Classroom Communication Goals Grid-R for at least one student
  4. Click here to complete the Quiz/Form certifying the above!
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Step One: Choose the TARGET

In Step One we will be determining which words and messages we need to specifically target for instruction. We often complete the step, not only for targeting specific words and messages, but also when we are first designing the AAC system that our student will be using. We will use three techniques to choose our target words and messages:

  1. Consider which words and messages are important to the individual student, their family, friends, and teacher. We will be asking all of these partners for their input as we choose the most motivating significant words and messages to target.
  2. Observe the student interacting in their typical environment so we can determine what messages are necessary in order for the student to participate fully.
  3. Consider what words and messages will initiate and sustain social interactions and meet basic communicative needs. Choose words/ messages that are easy to understand, including everyday language and regular occurrences.
  4. Consider developmental norms and frequency of vocabulary,  grammar and pragmatic development for those students who are learning language at the same time they are learning to communicate.

CREDIT and Certificate are available for .5 hrs with the following:

  1. Watch the video
  2. Look over the discussed tools: Schedule Analysis, Word Lists and Notes pages
  3. Discuss the process of selecting communication targets with one other person either on the team or in a student's family.
  4. Complete the QUIZ to receive the certificate!

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Step Two: TRAIN how to say it with AAC

In Step Two we begin the process of training HOW we say the word or message.  We are learning where the symbol lives on our AAC system, what it looks or sounds like, the motor sequence to navigate through pages on our AAC applications, and of course signing or saying the word, if that's appropriate.The most significant thing to remember at this step is that we are not teaching the child to use the word for communication purposes. We are simply teaching them how to use AAC to say the word or message. We’re teaching them things like how to navigate their device, where the symbol may live on a page, how to select the symbol on an eye gaze device by looking in the appropriate location. We might be teaching them what the symbol looks like, sounds like and what it means.

CREDIT and Certificate are available for 1.0 hrs with the following:

  1. Watch the video
  2. Look over the discussed resources pictured above
  3. Complete the QUIZ to receive the certificate!
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Step Three: TAKE IN by watching others say the word with my AAC

Step 3 is all about the partner and their modeling of how the word/message is used in the real world.  The point of this step as for the student to begin to understand when to use these words and messages and what it looks like when someone communicates using the method that they will ultimately be using themselves.  This is exactly how infants and toddlers begin to learn to speak, by watching and experiencing their parents and the other adults around them communicating by talking to each other for real purposes.

In this step, we are considering WHY we do this: What does the research say?.  We are also considering HOW to do it.  It's a bit messy for us adults, learning to speak AAC, but you can do it, and this is the first step!

TO RECEIVE .5 hrs CREDIT:
  1. Watch video
  2. Complete one tool or review one resource discussed in video.
  3. Complete QUIZ by clicking here
  4. Receive emailed certificate
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Step Four: TRY IT

It’s finally time to begin to offer our students the opportunity to use their AAC system for communication purposes with lots of support as they get started!! Your targets are going to be the same ones you chose initially and the ones that you have been modeling through step three. Now they will begin to use the words and messages in their AAC system for functional purposes in their natural daily environments.Because you’ve been modeling these exact words in these exact situation during step three, this is going to be an easy process! You already know how to use the words and model them during these typical activities so you can begin to concentrate on providing the supports that benefit your student the most in becoming independent.

TO RECEIVE 1.0 hrs CREDIT:
  1. Watch video
  2. Complete QUIZ by clicking here
  3. Receive emailed certificate

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Step Five: TALK with my AAC system!

We have reached the finale! At this stage our students are ready to begin to talk on their own by using their AAC system, speech, sign language, picture symbols and/or communication devices! We are expecting our students to now be able to choose what to say, when to say it, and remember how to say it, using their AAC system. We expect them to be able to use their word or message independently.​

Once we are done here, we are heading back to Step One to choose a new target!

TO RECEIVE 1.0 hrs CREDIT:
  1. Watch video
  2. Complete QUIZ by clicking here
  3. Receive emailed certificate

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Let's Get Started!

Beginning with this introduction, you will watch the slideshow video introducing you to the concepts at each step of the AAC 101 journey.  Beside each step below you will see a circle icon you can click to whisk you off to your training page for that step. You will find the video and a pdf copy of the slideshow with clickable links at the bottom to take you to the resources you need to complete that step with your student. If you are working directly with DTA Schools Team, we will be here to consult with you, coach you and help you as you get comfortable with the entire process of helping your student learn to communicate!